Categories
Guest posts Historical Fiction

Spotlight on Nancy Jardine and the latest in the Celtic Fervour series

I’m delighted to welcome fellow Ocelot Press author, Nancy Jardine, to the blog today. She published a new book this week in her gripping and thoroughly researched Celtic Fervour series, set in Roman Britain. I’ll let Nancy tell you about it.

Thank you for inviting me today, Vanessa, to share a little about Beathan The Brigante, the 5th book in my highly acclaimed Celtic Fervour Saga Series. The novel launched two days ago with Ocelot Press and I’m still not down from the ceiling! It’s available in e-book and paperback from Amazon, and in paperback format via Ingram Spark (bookstores and libraries).

An offer from Nancy

Something your readers might find of interest is that the ebook versions of Books 1-4  in the Celtic Fervour Saga Series are reduced to only 99p/99c/0.99euros each, for some days around Book 5’s launch day and, depending on when your readers see this post, the offer may still be available. You can find the ebooks via my Amazon author page.

Writing the Celtic Fervour saga

I’ve loved writing all five books of the series, though honesty makes me confess that sometimes it’s been difficult at times knowing what to keep and what to remove from my final copies. I love to research and, like most historical authors I know, always want desperately to keep every little detail in the final copy. That is, naturally, entirely unrealistic but authors live to dream! I hope in Beathan The Brigante that the balance is just right for making the settings credible.

Although I’ve endeavoured to create each book as a ‘stand-alone’ read, the links between all of the books – and the development of the Garrigill Clan as the saga unfolds – make that difficult. Recurring themes also permeate the books, some being more relevant to my Roman Iron Age ‘Celts’ and others to the Ancient Roman characters.   

Beathan The Brigante

Beathan The Brigante brings one particular theme of the series to a full circle. The birth of a baby is prophesied in The Beltane Choice (Book 1), a son who is destined to become a famous tribal leader. Nara and Lorcan of the Garrigill Brigantes name their child Beathan – which means ‘life’.

Beathan’s upbringing is tinged with the constant threat of domination by the legions of Ancient Rome. When Beathan is seven, his Brigante clan from Garrigill Hillfort become refugees and trek northwards to Nara’s birthplace (Book 3). However, living there is very temporary since  the Roman invasion continues northwards, led by the new Governor of Britannia, General Agricola. At the age of almost thirteen, Beathan goes to battle at Beinn na Ciche against the Ancient Roman legions of General Agricola. That battle is lost by the Caledonians and we subsequently find Beathan is captured by Roman auxiliaries (Book 4).

Book 5 is Beathan’s story and tells the tale of what happens to him from his imprisonment at the age of almost thirteen to revenge against his Roman captors when he is a very mature seventeen-year-old. However, Book 5 is also partly the story of Beathan’s unique relationship with the Ancient Roman general, Gnaeus Iulius Agricola. Dragged in chains to Rome doesn’t mean that Beathan has lost all sense of honour. Equally, Agricola has enemies of his own and finds impartiality an impossible burden. And it isn’t only the main characters in Book 5 who make surprising choices!

Beathan endures so much during his early teenage years. He deserves some happiness but finds that Torrin is a determined young Brigante lass with her own plans mapped out. Love rarely comes easily for my Garrigill warriors and readers will find that young Beathan is no different!

There are repeated themes throughout the five books – threads which are sometimes fragile but also have a tensile strength that’s needed to face up to the Roman invaders. What keeps Beathan going during his years of captivity is the desire to be back in the bosom of his Garrigill family, but there is also an all-encompassing hunger to wreak havoc and disaster on his Roman tormentors.

Beathan is my current hero – might be for some time to come – and I do hope readers like him, too!

About the book

AD 85 Roman Empire

How can young Beathan of Garrigill – held hostage by General Agricola and dragged in chains to Rome – escape and wreak vengeance on his enemies?

Torrin is a strong-minded Brigante warrior-woman who forges her own future. She willingly takes care of him in a time of need, but her own plans are paramount.

Agricola’s career is in tatters. Attempts on his life are plentiful, having lost favour with Emperor Domitian. His gods have abandoned him, though assistance comes from a surprising source.

Will Beathan gain his freedom to return to his kin in Caledonia? Will Torrin be by his side? And how will Agricola survive without the emperor’s benevolence?

Beathan the Brigante is the fifth in the bestselling Celtic Fervour series.

Beathan The Brigante ebook edition

Beathan the Brigante paperback edition

About Nancy

Nancy Jardine writes historical fiction, time travel historical adventure and contemporary mysteries. When not writing or researching (a compulsion she can’t give up), she’ll be with her grandchildren, gardening, or reading novels. She loves to interact with her readers when regularly signing/ selling paperback versions of her novels at local Craft Fairs, and at larger event venues. She enjoys presenting author talks and gives formal presentations on her novels, and on Ancient Roman Scotland, to groups large and small.

She’s a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Scottish Association of Writers, the Federation of Writers Scotland, the Romantic Novelists Association and the Alliance of Independent Authors. She’s self-published with Ocelot Press.

Find Nancy at these places:

Copyright © Nancy Jardine, Vanessa Couchman 2020, all rights reserved.

Categories
Guest posts Writing tips

A Novel Approach

I’m delighted to welcome my friend and fellow Ocelot Press author, Jennifer C. Wilson, to the blog today. Her latest book, aimed at writers, A Novel Approach, was published yesterday by Ocelot Press. She tells us how the book came about and what it aims to do. I’ve had a sneak peek, and I know that budding and experienced writers alike will find it really helpful.

Over to you, Jen…

Is there a novel in you? Let me help you find out…

That’s the goal behind A Novel Approach, my new non-fiction title, that I’m so excited to see coming out through Ocelot Press. I love going to writing workshops, working through prompts and exercises, and learning from other writers. And, as I’d enjoyed going to so many, I decided to host my own, working with writers through the various key stages of pulling together a piece of long-form fiction.

Over a course of six workshops, we brainstormed, wrote, and discussed, and the results were brilliant. Although it is aimed at those looking to write a novel, there were short stories generated from the prompts, as well as scenes for both new and existing story ideas. That’s the thing I think is great about prompts like this – they can help you when your starting point is the blank page, but also, if you have that initial idea in your head, but need a bit of help organising your thoughts onto the page.

The exercises will get you thinking about your characters, their voices, what they want and need, and what they’ll do to get those things. There are also prompts to bring your settings to life, making them feel real to your readers, as well as dropping conflicts into your characters’ paths, keeping the pages turning.

I really hope writers get something out of this, and would love to hear from anyone who uses it to get the ink flowing!

The blurb:

Based on my series of workshops held throughout 2019 and into 2020, this book is designed to help writers work through each of the key stages of their story, including:

  • Idea generation;
  • Creating characters;
  • Describing your settings;
  • Showing vs telling; and
  • Keeping the words flowing when you find yourself stuck.

As well as the above, I have also added sections on hooking your readers in, leaving them wanting more, and useful resources as a writer, including how to dip a successful toe into the world of social media.

The workshops were fun, helping writers of short stories and novels alike, and I hope these exercises can help you too!

A Novel Approach: mybook.to/ANovelApproach

About Jennifer

Jennifer C. Wilson stalks dead people (usually monarchs, mostly Mary Queen of Scots and Richard III). Inspired by childhood visits to as many castles and historical sites her parents could find, and losing herself in their stories (not to mention quite often the castles themselves!), at least now her daydreams make it onto the page.

After returning to the north-east of England for work, she joined a creative writing class, and has been filling notebooks ever since. Jennifer won North Tyneside Libraries’ Story Tyne short story competition in 2014, and in 2015, her debut novel, Kindred Spirits: Tower of London was published by Crooked Cat Books. The full series was re-released by Darkstroke in January 2020.

Jennifer is a founder and host of the award-winning North Tyneside Writers’ Circle, and has been running writing workshops in North Tyneside since 2015. She also publishes historical fiction novels with Ocelot Press. She lives in Whitley Bay, and is very proud of her two-inch view of the North Sea.

Connect with Jennifer:

Facebook

Twitter

Blog

Instagram

Amazon

Copyright © Jennifer C. Wilson, Vanessa Couchman, 2020. All rights reserved.

Categories
Ocelot Press Short stories

Doorways to the Past

I’m delighted to be involved in Ocelot Press‘s latest venture: Doorways to the Past, a collection of historical short stories and character interviews from five Ocelot Press authors, will be released on 30th July 2020. There’s something for all historical tastes in here.

Sue Barnard, myself, Cathie Dunn, Nancy Jardine and Jennifer C. Wilson have put together this collection. Yvonne Marjot, the newest Ocelot, has written the foreword.

Vocal characters!

All of the characters have appeared in some of our novels, and they haven’t left us alone, so we decided they deserved to have their say in their own stories and interviews.

The stories span the centuries from Roman times across the Dark and Middle Ages, through World War I, and up to the present day. This journey through time takes you from Scotland to England, and across to France, Corsica and Italy.

Astray in Marseille

My story, Astray in Marseille, takes a character from The Corsican Widow. For ages, I’ve been meaning to write about Francesca Vitello. She is a young Florentine woman, disowned by her family, who fetches up in Marseille in the mid-18th century. The story recounts her desperate attempts to find work and make her way in the city.

Doorways to the Past is now available on pre-order for Kindle on Amazon for 99p/99c. If you order now, that price is guaranteed, and you won’t pay anything until the book uploads automatically to your Kindle or e-reader on 30th July.

A paperback edition will be available soon, too.

You might also like:

Short Stories Inspired by France

Introducing Ocelot Press

Copyright © Vanessa Couchman 2020. All rights reserved.

Categories
Author interviews Historical Fiction

Meet the Ocelots: Lorenzo from ‘The Ghostly Father’

Today it’s my turn to interview another Ocelot Press author’s character. And I’m so pleased that it’s Fra’ Lorenzo, the gentle friar from Sue Barnard’s The Ghostly Father. Here he is above in a lovely drawing by Sue’s friend, Kay Sluterbeck.

Sue’s novel is an alternative version of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. Like many people, she wasn’t happy with the ending, so she decided to write her own. Fra’ Lorenzo, otherwise known as Friar Laurence in the Bard’s play, becomes a Franciscan friar, which allows him to pursue his interest in medicine. But he harbours a secret and some lifelong regrets. Let’s hear what he has to say about them.

Also, The Ghostly Father is on offer at a reduced price this week. AND Sue is offering a prize of another of her books. Read on to find out more.

Categories
Author interviews Historical Fiction

Meet Frédéric from ‘Overture’

Charming, witty, handsome. All of those adjectives fit Frédéric. But he also harbours a secret that he wants to keep from his family at all costs. He’s not the protagonist in Overture: that’s Marie-Thérèse, who has a burning ambition to become a singer. For the daughter of a modest farming family in rural France in the 1890s/1900s, that’s a dream which isn’t at all easy to fulfil. But Frédéric plays a crucial role in her life.

Today, he’s being interviewed by fellow Ocelot Press author, Cathie Dunn, on her website. Find out what makes Frédéric tick, what his childhood was like, his likes and dislikes and maybe a clue or two about his secret.

Here’s the start of the interview. Click the link to read the rest.

Bonjour, Frédéric. How lovely to meet you! I have heard many great things about you from Marie-Thérèse. Please make yourself comfortable. May I offer you a refreshment?

Frédéric: Thank you, Madame, or may I call you Cathie? You wouldn’t by any chance have a glass of champagne? I do find it lightens one’s mood, don’t you?

You are so right, and yes, please call me Cathie. There we are. You are a man of the world, and you’ve travelled far and wide. What do you make of my salon?

Frédéric: Delightful. A very restful but refined ambience.

Oh, thank you. You’re very kind. Now, to yourself. What triggered your love of music?

Frédéric: My parents engaged a piano teacher for my sisters so that they could learn an accomplishment suitable for young ladies. I was very taken with the sound of the piano, although the keyboard didn’t always sing under my sisters’ fingers! I pestered my parents to let me take lessons, too. I also took singing lessons, but I will never be more than competent in that line.

Do you play any instruments?

Frédéric: The piano, as I mentioned before. I was fortunate enough to inherit a rather wonderful Erard baby grand from my grandfather. It now has pride of place in my Paris apartment.

I can imagine. What a beautiful piece to inherit. But tell me, what took you to Berthe’s restaurant that first evening you heard Marie-Thérèse sing? You are not from Aveyron, so wasn’t your visit somewhat unusual?

Read the rest of Cathie’s interview.

And, to mark this event, Overture is on sale on Amazon Kindle for 99p/99c. That’s a whopping reduction from the full price. Get your copy here.

Copyright © Vanessa Couchman, Cathie Dunn 2019. All rights reserved.

Categories
Events Historical Fiction Ocelot Press

Meet the Ocelots this Week!

As a prelude to our character interview blog hop, starting next week, 5 of the Ocelot Press authors – including me! – are each taking over the Ocelot blog for a day. We’ll each talk about the background to the book in which the character features. Details in this post.

Ocelot Press

We can’t believe it’s already 18 months since Ocelot Press went live. Over the next few weeks we’ll be celebrating with a series of blog posts and character interviews and there’ll be a chance to buy some of our e-books for discounted prices. So definitely watch this space.

For starters, this coming week, each of us will take over the Ocelot blog for a day to bring you information on the background, setting and salient facts of one of our books. You’ll get an insider’s view of the story behind the book – and each of them makes fascinating reading.


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Categories
Novels Publishing

Introducing Ocelot Press

Ocelot Logo

Ocelot Press has been going for a couple of months, but now we have a shiny new website, so I can announce it officially and you can find out more about our authors and our books. We already have a number of titles published under the imprint.

What is Ocelot Press? It’s a group of experienced published authors who have teamed up to help each other edit, produce and promote our books to the highest professional standards.

We are all either former or current Crooked Cat Books authors, who also self-publish. Under the Ocelot Press imprint, we retain our creative independence while benefiting from each other’s knowledge and experience. All of my books are now published under the Ocelot imprint.

Our authors write mostly historical fiction, including historical mystery, paranormal and romance. We aim to introduce our readers to a wide range of fiction through our joint marketing and publicity efforts.

It’s a great new venture and I’m excited to be a part of it.

Copyright © Vanessa Couchman 2018, all rights reserved.